Information of Interest, May 2012
1. Generational Differences in Young Adults
(www.apa.org) – “Compared to Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1961) at the same age, Gen X’ers (born 1962 to 1981) and Millenials (born after 1982) considered goals related to extrinsic values (money, image, fame) more important and those related to intrinsic values (self-acceptance, affiliation, community) less important,” according to a study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In addition, “concern for others (e.g. empathy for outgroups, charity donations, the importance of having a job worthwhile to society) declined slightly. Community service rose but was also increasingly required for high-school graduation over the same time period. Civic orientations (e.g. interests in social problems, political participation, trust in government, taking action to help the environment and save energy) declined . . . Some of the largest declines appeared in taking action to help the environment. In most cases, Millennials slowed, though did not reverse, trends toward reduced community feeling begun by Gen X. The results generally support the ‘Generation Me’ view of generational differences rather than the ‘Generation We’ or no change views,” wrote researchers Elise C. Freeman and Jean M. Twenge, both from San Diego State University, and W. Keith Campbell, University of Georgia, in their article, Generational Differences in Young Adults’ Life Goals, Concern for Others and Civic Orientation,
1966 – 2009.
The researchers maintain that generational differences are cultural differences: “As cultures change, their youngest members are socialized with new and different values.” Generational trends in community feeling are important because they address social capital and group relations. Consistent with these changes, Freeman, Twenge and Campbell maintain that other studies conclude more recent students “are less likely to take the perspective of others in need and ‘less concerned with and less emotionally burdened by others’ suffering and disadvantage. Narcissistic personality traits, which correlate with less empathy and concern for others, increased over the generations among college students. . . .” The bottom line is the authors’ analyzed data suggest that “the popular view of Millennials as more caring, community-oriented and politically engaged than previous generations is largely incorrect.”
2. Drilling in Extreme Environments
(www.lloyds.com) – According to a 2011 Lloyd’s of London report on emerging risks, Drilling in Extreme Environments: Challenges and Implications for the Energy Insurance Industry, “oil and gas companies are moving into new and increasingly harsh and remote environments to meet the world’s growing demand for energy. However, exploring new frontiers carries risks and the Macondo incident in 2010 (often referred to as “Deepwater Horizon”) underlines the importance of understanding, mitigating and managing these risks as effectively as possible.” The following seven items are from the report’s executive summary.
- As drilling moves into more extreme environments, the technical and operational challenges will increase. The issues are significant and complex. To fully understand why deepwater introduces new complications and challenges, we need also to understand the technical difficulties involved in drilling in extreme environments.
- The Macondo incident highlights the heightened risks of drilling in extreme environments. The complexities and difficulties involved in drilling this well, restoring control of the well and tackling the subsequent pollution and environmental damage highlighted the additional problems of managing risks in extreme environments.
- The Arctic presents a unique set of risks for the energy industry. As drilling activity in the Arctic moves further offshore and into remoter areas, the operational, environmental and regulatory risks will grow significantly for oil and gas companies with considerable implications.
- There are uncertainties over available pollution cover in existing policies. There is a perceived lack of clarity in relation to the scope of cover under standard forms of liability policy, particularly concerning clean-up expenses. Should a significant deepwater control of well incident occur, there may not be much (if any) limit available for seepage and pollution under the combined single limit for the OEE (Operators Extra Expense) section.
- Higher limits may need more capacity in the insurance market. Many insureds, having reviewed their limits in the context of the Macondo incident, require higher limits for pollution and this will be exacerbated by impending legislation in the U.S. and elsewhere, which may require insureds to purchase higher limits of pollution cover.
- Insurers need to identify and monitor their accumulated exposure. Drilling in deepwater and remote environments increases the potential for significant aggregation in exposure. Well control and pollution losses may aggregate with physical damage, business interruption and removal of wreck claims, as well as any claims for death and injuries of personnel.
- Insurance and energy industries should work in partnership. It is important that the energy industry adopt standards that ensure safety and reliability in the design and execution of drilling in extreme environments and restores confidence.
3. Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies
(www.gmu.edu and www.yale.edu) – A May 2011 report, Climate Change in the American Mind: Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in May 2011, was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. It provides a comparison of responses from November 2008 to January 2010 to June 2010 to May 2011. Specific results are presented below.
- In May 2011, 50 percent of respondents replied that global warming should be a high or very high priority for the president and Congress, compared to 54 percent in November 2008.
- In May 2011, 66 percent of respondents replied that developing sources of clean energy should be a high or very high priority for the president and Congress, compared to 60 percent in January 2010.
- In May 2011, 65 percent of respondents replied that corporations and industry should be doing more or much more to address global warming, compared to73 percent in November 2008.
- In May 2011, 61 percent of respondents replied that the United States should reduce its greenhouse gases regardless of what other countries do, compared to 67 percent in November 2008. Regarding U.S. effort to reduce global warming, 29 percent replied the U.S. should make a large-scale effort, even if it has large economic costs, compared to 34 percent in November 2008. Thirty-eight percent replied the U.S should make a medium-scale effort, even if it has moderate economic costs, compared to 40 percent in November 2008.
- In May 2011, 66 percent of respondents replied that they somewhat or strongly support requiring electric utilities to product at least 20 percent of their electricity from wind, solar or other renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 per year, compared to 72 percent in November 2008.
- In May 2011, 66 percent of respondents replied that they somewhat or strongly support the signing of an international treaty that requires the U.S. to cut it emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by 2050, compared to 69 percent in November 2008.
- In May 2011, 34 percent of respondents replied that they somewhat or strongly oppose expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast, compared to 25 percent in November 2008.
- In May 2011, 53 percent of respondents replied that they somewhat or strongly oppose building more nuclear power plants, compared to39 percent in November 2008.
- In May 2011, 84 percent of respondents replied that they somewhat or strongly support funding more research into renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, compared to 92 percent in November 2008.
- In May 2011, 71 percent of respondents replied that they somewhat or strongly support regulations requiring any new home to be more energy efficient. This would increase the initial cost by about $7,500 but save about $17,000 in utility bills over 30 years.
4. Everglades Restoration Plan – 2010 Report to Congress
(www.saj.usace.army.mil) – In 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan: Central and Southern Florida Project, 2010 Report to Congress. Within the Report Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, explains that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “in partnership with its primary partner, the South Florida Water Management District, continues to develop an integrated strategy for implementation of the [restoration] Plan. In order for the Plan to be implemented successfully, it is imperative to maintain coordination with the Department of the Interior, as well as tribal governments and other federal and state partners, all of which have actively participated in the development of the progress of this program. In the past five years, three projects were authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007: Indian River Lagoon South, Picayune Strand Restoration and Site 1 Impoundment. The authorization of these projects has allowed the agencies involved in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) to begin construction on features that provide needed momentum toward the restoration of the Everglades. In addition, funding provided through the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allowed construction on both CERP and other south Florida Restoration projects to proceed at a quicker pace and provide jobs in south Florida.
“The Water Resources Development Act of 2000 conveyed expectation that adaptive management principles would be applied during CERP implementation. The CERP Monitoring and Assessment Plan, a scientifically rigorous system-wide/regional monitoring approach, has laid the foundation by generating information to support understanding of ecosystem responses to CERP implementation. Extensive new data has been collected throughout the last five years from applied research, field monitoring and computer analysis that informs the understanding of the complex Everglades environment. The value of new scientific information is its ability to improve decision-making within CERP, thereby improving restoration success.”
To learn more about CERP, read the May 2012 lead story, “The Florida Everglades: Rescuing an Endangered Ecosystem.”